I’ve been doing the Dead Freeways Ride off and on since about since its inception in 2006. It’s been about three years since the last time I did one, and no better time than now to remind Portland folks of what kind of city we may have had if highway projects like the Mount Hood Freeway got built.
We’ll meet on Saturday March 9 at 11:00 AM. The meeting spot is Fehrenbacher Hof, 1225 SW 19th Av. We’ll be leaving at 11:30 AM so you have time to get some coffee and breakfast!
From there, we’ll ride about 10 miles eastward, passing by current freeways, freeways that were like Harbor Drive and freeways that did not come to pass, like the Mount Hood Freeway.
The ride is not a loop, but will end near transit. After the ride, I’ll be heading somewhere to have a drink and eat. We can talk more about Dead Freeways there!
Hello, friends! It’s the end of the year, so it’s the customary time to look back and review what had happened. Overall, 2018 was a decent year for me, with lots of fun adventures. I didn’t get anywhere near as much bike camping or touring in as I would have liked, but to make up for it I went out of town a bunch.
January: Emee and I traveled up to Vancouver, BC for the new year. I always get out of town for the holiday. Though I’d been up to Vancouver many times for the holiday, this was my first time with Emee!
March: This was a big month for travel, with a trip every weekend:
March 9-12: I headed solo to Seattle to ride Seattle Randonneurs 100 km Spring Populaire.
March 16-19: Emee and I travelled north to La Conner, WA for the Dandy Daffodil Tweed Ride. We then headed via ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island for a little r ‘n’ r.
March 26-28: Despite thinking three weekends in a row was enough, Emee and I decamped to Eastern Oregon, staying in the lovely Balch Hotel in tiny Dufur (15 miles south of The Dalles), and doing a ride on the Deschutes River Trail.
May: This was the month of the big train trip to the Midwest! Emee and I rode in luxury in a sleeping car on the Empire Builder to and from Minneapolis, where we took part in the annual Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour!
June: It’s a hard time to get out of town, since Pedalpalooza occupies the entire month. Still, I managed to snag a Three Speed Camping trip at the beginning of the month! And yes, this was the first bike camping trip of the year, ending a half-year drought.
July: Summer in full effect. Emee and I drove out to the Long Beach Peninsula in SW Washington right before Independence Day for some beach-themed r & r. In the middle of the month Emee and I bike-camped out at Battle Ground Lake, our first bike camping together trip. Then I took the train up to the Puget Sound for a mini-tour that turned out to be a comedy of errors (getting on the wrong ferry leading to having to find an alternate camping destination the first night, then a blowout the next day requiring a repair with judicious Gorilla tape.)
August: This was the month of my big tour of the year, a week-plus jaunt on the Oregon Coast. Emee joined me for the first half, making it the first time we bike toured together. It was grand!
September: Due to heat and smoke, a planned Three Speed Willamette Valley Tour did not happen. Instead Steve, Todd, and myself did a “regular bike” overnight trip to Champoeg State Park. At the end of the month Emee and myself snuck up to Snohomish, Washington (a far northside Seattle suburb) to participate in their Tweed Ride.
October: I got in my last bike camping trip with my friend Stasia to Oxbow Regional Park (without realizing I was coming down with the flu.) Emee and I rounded out the month with yet another trip to the Long Beach Peninsula.
November: I got on a plane with Emee and her kids (Oliver and Maire) and we headed to Texas for a week around the Thanksgiving holiday, visiting family in the Houston area and friends in Austin. We (Emee and I ) capped off the month with a quick work-related train trip to Seattle.
December: No travel (yet) this month, but Emee and I will be spending New Years in Bend!
So you can see it was a busy overall year for travel, but not so much for bike travel in particular. Okay, I travelled with bikes on a number of trips, like the times in Seattle and Vancouver and the Minnesota excursion. And that’s always cool. But trips relying (mostly) on a bike for travel was much more sparse: I didn’t even bike camp before June, for instance. I got two tours in (one a four day, one a week plus) then only four bike overnights. This is a pretty low number for me. While I’m not discounting the other trips I did in 2018, I really wish I did more bike camping or touring. I know I always say this, but I want to do more in 2019. Hopefully my loose schedule will open opportunities up a bit.
And you may have also noticed a lack of overnight hiking trips for 2018. After my Indian Heaven trip in 2017, I was gung-ho to do another one. I did have something in the works for September, but unfortunately it fell through. I’d really like to do something in 2019, at the very least one trip. If you’re in the area and going somewhere, hit me up!
In any case, I’m looking forward to an exciting 2019.
It’s a new year, so a good time to think about upcoming bike tours! Are you in Portland and want to take a couple hour practical class on Touring? Well, you are in luck!
I’ll be having my Bike Touring Workshop on Saturday March 2, 2019, from 10:30 AM to 1 PM. Like the last one, it will be held at Golden Pliers Cyclery, the newish bike shop and cafe at 1451 N Skidmore St (right near the Prescott Station on the Yellow Line MAX!) They have a cafe with coffee, beer, and food so you can come hungry if need be!
The description: Are you itching to hit the open road and explore nature in a way you haven’t yet? Are you a regular bicycle rider but have never taken a bicycle tour? Then join us to learn more about Self-Supported Bicycle Touring and Camping. We’ll be discussing equipment, planning, and cost as well as day-to-day life on the road.
No camping/touring experience required, but this workshop is designed for folks who regularly ride a bike. We will not be extensively discussing bicycle maintenance or mechanics, but may mention a few useful tips for touring.
As I said before, I don’t know how long I’ll be around the Woodlawn neighborhood, which means my easy access to the beloved Columbia Slough. So to bid adieu to this region, I’ll be leading one of my favorite rides: The Slough Country Ramble!
We’ll be meeting on Saturday February 16 at 11 AM at Cafe Eleven, 435 NE Rosa Parks Way, Portland, OR 97211. We’ll be here until 11:30 AM, so you’ll have some time to grab a coffee and breakfast before we take off. From there, we’ll head down to the Slough for the next couple hours. (Bring a snack!)
The ride is about 20 miles total. Bring a bike that can handle a little rough stuff. Ride not a loop, but will end near transit, food, and beverages.
As I’ve said previously, I haven’t done much riding lately. General busyness, not having to leave the house to go to work, and general winterness has brought my riding almost to zilch. Heck, I don’t think I got on my bike for a good week before Friday the 21st. So, a ride of some sort was in order. And what better place to head to than the Columbia Slough?
One of the great benefits of living in the Woodlawn neigborhood of NE Portland is that the bottomlands of the Columbia Slough are close at hand, featuring miles of bike paths, secluded woods and wetlands, and a degree of quiet and solitude not found in many other areas of Portland. I know I will not be living in Woodlawn for that much longer.
After five years in the ‘hood, I’ve remained pretty indifferent to it. I’ll never be one of those Woodlawn boosters who’d the Woodlawn Triangle tattoo’d on their bod,* nor will I badmouth it. I doubt I’d miss most aspects of living here, especially its relative distance to other things in Portland. But I’ll definitely miss the ease of accessing the Slough. (That and the general proximity to St Johns and Ranch Pizza.)
Anyways, I got out of the house in the afternoon on Saturday December 22 to take a Slough Ride. I chose Saturday because earlier in the week it promised to be a relatively dry day, a break in the constant cycle of winter storms that beset the Northwest in December. Of course, the forecast on Friday night called for a wetter Saturday than originally forecast, but the initial forecast turned out true, the rain holding off until nightfall. (And after nightfall, boy did it rain!) The day featured that particular high cloudiness that seems to be a trademark of winter in the West. The sun was faintly visible behind this cover, giving off a weak, diffuse light. Still, the high clouds meant that the snowy volcanic peaks were pretty visible, resplendent in fresh powder.
I originally had the ambition of getting all the way out west to Kelley Point Park, where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers meet, but with day shortening I ratcheted back the plan to go as far as Smith and Bybee Lakes, the largest “lakes” within the city. They are shallow wetland lakes, so during the summer they can dry up. But the water levels were pretty good. I got close to Bybee Lake, and waited.
The constant drone of distant traffic and factories plus the clang of freight trains is always present down here, but now I started to hear the birds, and just the birds. I was still in the city, but I didn’t feel like it. I needed that, to recenter myself. I’m glad that I can do that pretty easily here.
It was starting to get dark, and the weather radar was foreboding, filled with big globs of rain heading my way. I turned ’round and headed towards civilization. It was good, and I’ll be back.
Yes! The Palm Tree Ride is back! I did it for ten years straight (2005-2015), then took a few years off. I brought it back last year as a one-off, with the idea I’d revive it if I felt the urge. Well, I can’t say it’s going to go on forever, but I definitely want to do it this year!
The premise, as always is the same: A 7 to 10 mile casual bicycle ride (not a loop) explorin’ the palm trees around town. I also throw in some other exotics and evergreens, like eucalypts, madronas, yuccas, Oregon myrtles, and such. These trees and shrubs keep the city green through our grey and cool winter months, when all the deciduous trees have dropped their leaves. Seeing a bunch of them in the middle of winter brightens the mood, and reminds us that winter here may not be as bad as we feel.
I aim to explore a different area of town for each ride. This year (2019) we’ll be exploring the areas around Mount Tabor, and won’t stray super-far from that extinct volcano
Meet me for the Palm Tree ride on the morning of Sunday January 20th. We’ll be meeting at Fillmore, 7201 NE Glisan St at 11 AM. We depart at 11:30 AM. Fillmore is a coffee shop with a bagel sandwiches, so you won’t go hungry!
We’ll ride around for a few hours, stopping at many a palm and the like. We’ll end at a place with food and adult beverages. This ride is not a loop, but we will end near transit.
My Postcard Club is simple: I send about four (sometimes five and even six) unique event postcards throughout the year, each one with my drawerings on it! (See above) I like doing things “old-school” around here. Yes, email lists and “social medias” do the same trick. But they ain’t as cool. A postcard? It’s physical, real. You can put it on your fridge to remind you of what the Urban Adventure League is about!
And my special sale on Postcard Club is coming to an end! The sale price of $7 plus shipping will end at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Sunday December 23. After that the price goes up to $12 plus shipping. So order now to get a better deal!
And Postcard Club makes a perfect gift, especially since you don’t have to worry about it getting to you before the 25. If you want to gift a membership, simply indicate the giftee’s name and mailing address in the Notes of your order.
I know most of you reading this aren’t going to be able to go on my rides, walks, and other events. That’s okay. So if you are wondering why should you join, ask yourself this: Do you like getting cool stuff in the mail? 🙂
Hello, friends of Three Speeds! 2019 looks to be an eventful year ’round the Society of Three Speeds. And to kick it off, how about a good ol’ Get-Together?
We’ll be meeting between 4 PM and 6: 30 PM on Saturday January 19th at Montavilla Brew Works, 7805 SE Stark St.
This event is FREE, but all beverages will be paid for by YOU. Montavilla Brew Works has no kitchen so no onsite food besides a few snacks. However, they allow outside food, and there are HEAPS of options within a couple blocks of the brewery. You will not go hungry!
After the gathering, if people are willing and the weather’s okay, we may go for a ride. So, it is best to bring your Three Speed bicycle to show off and use! (And it’ll be dark and maybe wet, bring lights and rain gear for that.)